Can technology solve every problem on earth? How do we distinguish code problems from other problems?
Magic formula is simple they suggest. Find an area for tech to disrupt, such as e-books. Leverage it with electronic devices and code in order to distribute them in upscale efforts = Success.
Many of these projects aim to bring equality of opportunity or some sort to impoverished or disadvantaged. It’s the modern education technologist’s promise to deliver and scale up-to-date and useful pieces of information to any parts of the world.
The whole quarantine business have led me to consume all pieces in my reading list and my ‘bookshelf’ on storytel, so I wandered through this year’s Ashoka Fellow’s reading list and found this masterpiece “Geek Heresy” by Kentaro Toyama recommended by Digital Green’s founder Rikin Gandhi.
We’d like to think positively about technology’s involvement in social problems. There is a plentitude of state-sponsored programs for tech ownership such as India’s Freedom 251 (evidently it was called upon a disaster) there are massive efforts from big techmakers such as google and apple to arm classrooms with latest tech. Not to mention that this is just the tangible side of things, there are multiverses of educational software offers, discounts etc. All are promising to deliver the same or better experience that schools projected to offer.
Yet the newer forms are failing precisely at the same weak spots where older ways of education also failed: Scaling the distribution of quality content at anywhere and anytime conveniently while making sure that we have better ways to measure success and aptitude. Newer tech just performs better when there is a developed understanding and infrastructure for modern education. Otherwise it is bad as throwing money out, like unaccountably… Out.
This is where the practice of social innovation should step in. Pinpointing the real causes of ineffective digital education in different scenarios is the real changemaking. Anyone who promises to use their tech understanding for social good should consider taking a look at to problems' of their own audiences at a deeper level.
There is little to none social good proposing a nationwide enrollment for Apple k-12 Everyone Can Code program while let’s say 1/3 of students find the curricula “pointless” or towns have food or job security issues that introduces a tunnel vision for students. I don’t need to underline the priority tasks in this kind of situations to secure an enriching learning platform. We’d need a deeper understanding before we actually unfold the technical stuff.